How Game Designers Protect Players From Themselves | Game Maker’s Toolkit

How Game Designers Protect Players From Themselves | Game Maker’s Toolkit

SID MEIER: One of the responsibilities I think
we have as designers is to protect the player… from themselves Whenever a designer makes a game, they‘ll
have certain ideas for what would be the most enjoyable or interesting way for a player
to approach things. For example, Jake Solomon reckons that XCOM
is at its best when the player is taking risks. He told Rock Paper Shotgun: “Risks are what lead to loss and what lead to triumph”. But players will often have other ideas, because
many will simply gravitate towards strategies that will most likely lead to success – regardless
of how enjoyable those strategies might actually be – so they grind, they use repetitive tactics,
and they play slowly and cautiously. As Civilization 4 designer Soren Johnson puts
it, “given the opportunity, players will optimise the fun out of a game”. He was talking more about exploits,
but I think the quote still works. And this is kinda what happened in XCOM: players
rarely took risks, because why would you? Instead, they found much more success when
they moved slowly, played cautiously, and overused the overwatch ability – meaning they
often ended up playing each mission in largely the same, risk-averse way. But the awesome thing about design is that
the game’s developers can tweak things, to make sure players approach the game in
the way they think would be most interesting. The question is – what’s the best way to
do this? The most obvious answer would be to
add some kind of system that will stop the unwanted behaviour from occurring. And that’s what exactly Firaxis did when
it decided to introduce turn-limits to standard missions in XCOM 2. Many of the game’s missions will have some
kind of time limit – hack the network in 8 turns, destroy the relay in 6 turns, extract
the VIP in 12 turns. And if you don’t finish that objective within
the turn limit, the mission is failed. And this means that inching slowly across
the map like in XCOM 1 is now massively discouraged, and the player is forced to move more quickly
and take more risks. A very similar thing happened in the making
of Spelunky. Creator Derek Yu says “I never intended
Spelunky players to collect every piece of treasure, get every item, or explore every
room each time they play. Instead, I wanted to force them to make difficult
decisions and experience both the satisfaction of choosing correctly and the regret of choosing
poorly.” So, he added the deadly ghost enemy which
appears at about two and a half minutes into every level to put pressure on the player
and discourage them from dawdling around. Now both of these decisions had the intended
effect – but they were also both met with some amount of controversy. Spelunky less so – that’s a long time to
spend in one level. Besides, the ghost doesn’t actually kill
you. You can still run away and finish the stage. But many XCOM 2 players hated the turn limits, and even made mods to rip them out of the
game. “I didn’t expect people to have such a strong
reaction to the timers,” says Solomon. And turn limits were greatly reduced in the
game’s expansion, War of the Chosen. So, what went wrong? Well, there’s a bunch of things. Many people simply just enjoyed playing cautiously
in the first game, and expected to do so in the sequel. And Solomon suggests that “maybe there’s
a clumsy thematic wrapper on the turn-timer”. But one thing is clear: some players will
always react negatively to punishment. And, in XCOM 2, the fact that refusing to
speed up and take risks will see you fail the mission at hand, means that these players
felt that the game was punishing them for playing in a certain way. And there’s a famous story about World of
Warcraft – which I’ve never played so excuse me if I screw this up – but in the story,
Blizzard didn’t want people to play the game for too long – so they introduced a system
in the beta where the longer you played, the fewer experience points you’d get for killing
monsters and whatnot. But players hated it. They hated seeing the numbers going down. It felt like a punishment for playing the
game. So Blizzard did something pretty clever: they
flipped the system on its head. Now, players can build up a rest bonus whenever
they’re not playing the game, and then get an experience points boost when they next
log in. It’s essentially the same numbers, says
Blizzard, but making it a reward rather than a penalty made it much more agreeable to fans. So, it’s often better to encourage the behaviour
you want, than discourage the behaviour you don’t. Instead of punishing a player who is too slow,
reward a player who finishes the level quickly. And there are loads of good ways to encourage
player behaviour. It starts with the fundamental, moment-to-moment
gameplay, where designers can tweak the game’s most basic mechanics to push players towards
a certain style of play. Take the latest DOOM, where the designers
wanted to promote an aggressive sort of “push forward combat”. One way id Software achieved this was through
the glory kill mechanic which provided plenty of compelling reasons to close in on your
foes, instead of running away and firing from a safe distance. This move instantly kills an enemy, it doesn’t
use any ammunition, and it showers the player with useful health pick-ups. And so, despite years of FPS games training
players to run away and hide behind cover, in DOOM, players spend much of the game racing
headfirst towards demons. Likewise, Bloodborne encouraged players to
be more aggressive than they were in Dark Souls by adding the rally mechanic which lets
you recover health if you strike an enemy within a few seconds of taking damage. Players are less likely to back off and wait
for an opening if they have a chance to win back some health with a quick, aggressive
attack. Other examples of this sort of immediate encouragement might include the Burnout games, where you gather much-needed boost by doing all sorts of fun things like driving close to other cars and racing into oncoming traffic. You’ve gotta drive dangerously to win. And Hyper Light Drifter, where the only way
to recharge your gun is to slash bad guys with your sword, encouraging you to get up
close and personal with enemies. Encouragement can also be baked into more
abstract, overarching systems like scores. In most character action games, you can finish
the stage even if you’re pretty sloppy and rely on the same few tactics for the whole
game. But you’ll end up with a crappy grade at
the end of the level. To get a better grade, you need to play in
the way that the designers intended. So, for a game like Devil May Cry which is
all about being stylish, you’ll get better grades – plus, some handy items – if you use
varied and more difficult attacks, and use your guns to keep the combo ticking along. Likewise, Tony Hawk’s makes you connect
up different tricks to keep your combo going, and will give fewer points each time you repeat
a move. In all of these games, the only way to get
a high score is to play in the most stylish and interesting way possible, and to use the full extent of the game’s mechanics. Rewards like experience points and achievements
can also be used for this purpose, because the designer gets to choose exactly what sort
of activities or challenges the player must do to earn those points, and can tailor this
to reward players for taking actions that fit the game’s intended experience. GRAYSON HUNT: Ooh, son of a mother. Tech is wild. This cocky leash is grading my performance. Now, this is not to say that games should
never discourage, punish, or penalise people. This will always have a place in games. But for those games that do focus on negative
enforcement, they should be wary of pushing the slider from discouraging a playstyle, to practically
forcing you not to use it. Not to beat a dead horse, but playing fast
in XCOM 2’s timed missions is not just the best way to play – but, basically, the only
way to play. Because forcing a very specific playstyle
is difficult to pull off. I’m sure we’ve all played stealth games
where getting spotted by enemies leads to instant failure. And sure, this makes you play in a stealthy,
ninja-like manner, and doesn’t allow you to just Rambo your way through the game with
superior fire power, but it’s also annoying, and it gets rid of exciting moments like where
you get spotted but manage to escape and go back into hiding. So the goal is not necessarily to shut down
tactics that can lead to uninteresting playstyles. For example, if players are spending too much
time hiding safely behind cover in a shooter, when you’d prefer them to run around the
battlefield, you don’t have to remove cover entirely. It’s more often about keeping this stuff
as a valid tactic for certain situations – but tweaking them so the player will not abuse
or completely rely on them. So, you can discourage players from abusing
cover by having enemies throw in grenades or having cover break over time. Or you could encourage players to stay out
of cover by giving them points for fighting out in the open. And to go back to the stealth example, there
are better ways to encourage stealthy play than just insta-failing players who get spotted. You could discourage direct attacks by making
the player very weak. In the Arkham games, Batman is useless against
enemies with guns, so punching the crap out of guards during the stealth bits is a bad
tactic, but you can stay alive long enough to grapple hook your way back to safety. Or you could encourage stealth by using the
scoring systems mentioned earlier. In Hitman, the only way to get a high score,
or finish many of the challenges like Silent Assassin, is to play in the most sneaky way
possible. Never get seen, hide the bodies, delete the
camera recordings, and so on. Or, one less obvious way to tackle it, is
to make players more aware that direct attacks are not the focus of the game. With Mark of the Ninja, lead designer Nels
Anderson said that the game originally had an in-depth combat system with different stances
and parries and whatnot, but this level of depth signalled to the player that direct
combat was may more important than it actually was. By reducing the combat to something much more
simple, players now understood that direct attacks were not point. Anderson explained this on the podcast Designer
Notes, NELS ANDERSON: People would try to sneak,
they would fail, and then they’d just Rambo through the rest of the level. It’s like: okay, we just need to pair this
down, get rid of as much of it as possible, make it really simple. And once we just kept pairing it down to,
the amount of presence it had in the design was about proportional to how important we
thought it should be, that’s when it sat about right. So, designers should know how they want
players to approach their game. Perhaps stylishly, or stealthily, or while
taking risks, or using the full extent of the mechanics, or just feeling like a demon
murdering machine. Whatever they think is most fun, or interesting, or thematically relevant. But if a player can reach their goals – from
microscopic targets like “get health” or “defeat an enemy”, to longer-term goals
like “reach the end of the level” or “earn a new skill point” – if players can reach
those goals more easily through ways that don’t match that intention, and are actually
pretty boring, then the game might have a problem. Locking off that easier route is certainly
one way of going about it, but forcing players to meet your vision and punishing them for
playing otherwise, is fraught with difficulty. And so while I personally understand and even
appreciate XCOM 2’s turn timers in the broad strokes, I’m not surprised that they were met
with controversy. So, it’s often better to encourage and incentivise
a player to see the game in the best possible light. To allow for other playstyle, but give rewards,
high scores, easy kills, and handy resources when the player is meeting that intended experience. Now, please, this is definitely not as easy as I’m
making it sound. There are plenty of pitfalls to think about
and some of the most controversial and disliked mechanics are those that were initially designed
to encourage or discourage a certain way of playing. But when used really well, this type of design
can subtly push a player towards having the best possible experience, and, like Sid says,
protect players… from themselves. Hey, thanks for watching! I hope you found this one interesting. I love seeing all the differnet ways that designers
try to encourage and discourage different behaviours, and it’s fascinating to see
how successful they end up being. I’d love to hear your examples from games
you’ve played. Or games you’ve made, if you’re a designer. Leave ‘em in the comments below, if you
like. Game Maker’s Toolkit is funded on

100 thoughts on “How Game Designers Protect Players From Themselves | Game Maker’s Toolkit

  1. I've released a bonus video, related to this one, with some other solutions to the turn timer problem. Check it out here –

  2. Didn't help Xcom's case at all that most of the Xcom 1 classes worked best when set on overwatch and played safe in cover. The expansion, enemy within did have good method to encourage riskier approach with meld. Seriously, if risky play nets the same reward as safe play, we'll stick to the safe method.

  3. 2:40 well in the mission where you encounter your first sectopod, it is V E R Y unfair. You have a squad of six, but have to kill 3 soldiers elite, 2 spectres (that are worth like 2 soldiers each), 2 Archons (which are worth 3 soldiers) 2 more soldiers and one sectopod (which is worth like 6+ soldiers if not more) and all of that… in 6+- turns, while ALSO getting to the rally point to hack the system (losing another action point) and escape alive, all while starting the mission really far away from the point you have to go to, and having no way to enter without facing enemies, whether soldiers and archons or the sectopod

  4. i think black op 4 vs older CoD games is a perfect example, obviously they couldn't eniminate camping outright, but they made it harder by eliminating things like tall grass, ghillie suits and making the best camp spots be in the middles of the map rather than the sides, try playing BO3 or 4 and then play MW remaster next to it, you'll notice a much much heftier amount of campers instantly

  5. stupid F*ing developer… stop playing god… let me do and have fun the way i wanted….

    reward the player for being the developers bitches is good… as long as they doesnt force me to care about how i play and how they hate me for being me…

  6. With xcom 2 I have a perfect example of how the turn timers actually screws over the player, during one mission I had 8 turns to save a vip and extract, issue is the berserker queen was on the level meaning either I fail the mission or lose half my troops to the boss, it was extremely irritating and I tried it dozens of times and managed to pull one perfect run by literally running away and gtfo'ing out of there when I got the vip instead of trying to fight

  7. I like the breaking weapons system in BotW a lot, actually
    Makes you really think about which weapons you have on you and which ones you use at any given moment
    Also an incentive to get the house in Hateno so you can store the super rare ones you don’t want to actually use lol

  8. I don't even play the Xcom series anymore. Not entirely due to the RNG system but also the fact that if you fail a mission or lose a team mate then I always feel the need to reload the save and try again.
    I invest too much time into the game to lose it because of a bad dice roll and there's no payoff for losing that team member who is the best in your group.
    I was never invested enough to just keep going through the failure because ultimately it means i'm handicapped and i'm not the best player by any means.

    The constant need to put timers on my actions just put me off the whole series. I don't think the developers really care one way or the other but that's fine, I don't care much for buying their product anymore either.
    I guess I just gold older and realised I just don't need that kind of stress in my life anymore. Legitimately not mad. I'm sure a lot of other people still enjoy it and have a great time and i'm happy for them.

  9. Why is Zelda Breath of the Wild so loved? why are skyrim so loved? because a player have multplous choices, nobody likes to play a linear game that dosent let you do what you want to do, how many choices the player can have the better the fun, and that's why open world games are so much loved. Off corse that dosent apply to especifc games such puzzles games, this is more for open world games.

  10. The issue with Xcom was that the risks weren't worth it. If you lost a good team, trying to recover at least on higher difficulties, was just refuge in audacity.

  11. Game designers then:

    Game designers now: let’s introduce gambling into the game with real life money to unlock in game items

  12. Maybe some players like the slow, methodical way to play X-Com as, realistically, wouldn't you he slow and cautious if you were fighting against aliens?

  13. The XCOM2 thing is why I play Long War and not vanilla or WotC. It has so many fantastic elements that it fixed from the base game that really forced you to think. Like, the timers don’t go down if you’re concealed, but you’re largely unable to kill enemies. You can’t have one squad anymore, due to infiltrations taking up significant time, which forces you to make full use of your barracks. Not to mention that you have to pick between a large squad without proper infiltration or a small squad with that. You can get suppressors to make infiltration times go down, but they take up a valuable weapon upgrade slot with something that does not help you in normal gameplay. On top of this, it’s difficult to bring one of every class with you, which forces you to pick and choose who goes in the squad, and that can seriously impact your ability to traverse the map or your effectiveness in combat. There are some missions that practically rely on your ability to know when to specialize and when to have a diverse skill bag, before you set foot in the gameplay.

    It’s such an amazing mod, and I recommend that everybody tries it at least once.

  14. I love the fact that, in the original fire emblem, any chest, or objective/ennemy (if you play well, the objective of the game is more gaining every xp possible over surviving) might dissapear with time, the object might be stolen, the objective killed by an ennemy, or the ennemies killed by an ally AI, preventing you from getting the xp. This pushes you to go on, take risk, or elaborate complex strategies (my type) to win AND get all optional objectives. This make the game accesible to dumbass (like in my first run), but pemit it to still be challenging to seasoned players.

  15. This reminds me of the Mass Effect trilogy. The easiest way to win any encounter is to stick to cover and only pop out of it and shoot, once your shield recharges. Except for the soldier-biotic class. It's ability biotic charge lets you cover a huge distance and smash into a group of enemies, often sending them flying and recharging your shields. So once your shield is empty instead of going back to cover and waiting you instantly get into a new encounter. And you do it in style.
    No wonder why I liked that class so much.

  16. But why would people assume that playing games super cautiously to minimise risk and guarantee victory isn't fun? Is "fun" even the right metric to measure game-play experiences by? We also play games to master the mechanics, and playing a game in a masterful way with almost no risk of failure is very satisfying, and something we like to do.

  17. I dislike, I d ok not think it takes the fun out of it…….An it seem to be they want players to think one track mind to there will.

    Players should play as they see

  18. Stealth games……as long as you are quiet, silent… one sees and stealth.
    An get through the game there shouldn't be any certain way to get around. Though some routes maybe harder then others

  19. I personally would do something like overcooked bare with me here when you get 3 stars on five or so levels you get a new character. I'd do that or give skins TO those Said characters when they go ABOVE AND BEYOND or something like that

  20. It isn't the developer's place to decide how people play the game. That isn't "protecting me from myself", that's social engineering. It's the antithesis of good game design.

  21. XCOM really should have learned from Super Robot Wars. Turn timers exist and they are harsh, often require second playthrough to fully achieve everything. But instead of punishing you, they give you huge rewards like hidden storylines letting you save characters originally died in the anime and persuade them to join your team. XCOM may not be that story focused but there are still a lot of mechanics to use, and they actually did that with other parts of the game like how they treated grenades (killing with guns give you extra loot).

  22. The turn limit in XCOM2 was one of the first thing to find a way to remove. Damn that was boring.
    But then, I didn't like XCOM2 in the end. 🙂

  23. The problem with the timer in an X-Com game is that it runs against everything a "Turn Based Strategy" game is. Namely… players don't pick up and play a "Turn Based Strategy" game in order to "rush rush rush". They're playing it to make "the best decisions possible", to "set up for the least amount of mistakes and casualties as possible" and to "be rewarded for making well thought-out decisions".

    The people who designed X-Com 2… do not understand this. They don't know the core philosophy behind the game they're designing. This is a problem. This is why the timers exist at all.

    They did get their answer "half" right though. X-Com isn't at its most fun when you "take risks". X-Com is at its most fun when your well-laid plans fall to pieces around you, and you have to think long and hard about how to pick up those pieces and salvage the mission, or as much of it, as you can. It isn't the RISKS that are fun. It's when things happen you don't plan for and it requires you to adapt and change your strategy. It's when things require the player make major decisions about who is and who isn't an acceptable loss.

    It isn't about "taking risks".

    The fun of X-Com has always been about MITIGATING YOUR RISKS. Even when things go horribly wrong.

    The real lesson to be learned here… don't let people design a game when they have no idea what the core tenants of their genre are meant to be… or why players enjoy that sort of game to begin with.

  24. It reminds me of ASSASSINS CREED, how they use 100% sync points to encourage players to play the mission as the devs want them to

  25. Half-Life has a really good system to stop players abusing cover – the AI. Enemies have aggressive tactics; taking cover simply allows them to push forward, retake ground and fight you in what is for you a less advantageous part of the map.

  26. i think the turn timer should have been more of a challenge that you can choose to accept and not forced on you

  27. The timers of Xcom did not work for a lot of players because the kids of today are balless, weak, unimaginative cheats that want everything to go their way. The weak character kids of today want to mod, hack, and cheat in games, but then brag how good and superior they are. hahaahahah bitches……..

  28. Taking risks in xcom with bullshit RNG is not my style. Having 99% chance to hit is still not 100% to hit.

  29. Any "discouragement" from playing how I want to play equals being forced by the devs and I always hate it when this happens, especially when I'm getting rushed. Why is slowness so often seen as something bad?

  30. Looks like many people didn't get the point of the video. Return of the Obra Dinn is a good example. Since some players will try brute force to solve the puzzles the developer should have some measures to stop such play style as it doesn't provide the experience that the developer aimed for.

  31. If X-COM truly wanted us to take more risks and tried to design an appropriate system to encourage that, they should have made the deaths less punishing to encourage players to risk their high-level soldiers more. As an example, remove the cost and waiting time to hire new soldiers completely and give a visible EXP bonus in the next mission after a soldier dies scaled to how high level they were, so it's easier to get your new team up to standard.

    It's annoying, though, because all the mechanics in X-COM that could be argued to encourage risky play are hidden, so why would the average player ever try it? You're not punished as much as you think you are in X-COM as missions after your party get wiped get scaled to be easier, but as there's no way for you to know that without being told externally or through extensive testing, the game isn't doing anything to encourage the style of play the developers claim they were designing for.

    In short, Firaxis suck at game design.

  32. I absolutely HATE XCOM 2 because of this mechanic. It took the fun out for me whereas XCOM the Long War added in so much more options because of the size of your unit.

  33. Late game xcom is the point that your soldiers are too strong and you can pretty much hit and run if you have your whole team as pistol sniper. There is always a solution to these kind of problems, Xcom is about war and stuff so it is not supposed to have every misson flawless anyway.

    But still i call bullshit on a sword attack or a gun at point blank can miss lol

  34. What about breath of the wild, the whole game is about carving your own game style, so is it really something you always have to do?

  35. I feel as though Dead by Daylight's new endgame functionality has the exact same effect that the XCOMM timers had on punishing players for playing stealthily

  36. "…Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game."

    This rings so true. Especially for MMOs cough FFXIV cough

  37. Or users can do what they want with games, and developers can play the games instead of trying to play with people 🤷🏻‍♂️

  38. We are not calling them Character action games. We call them Spectacle Fighters. Character Action doesn't tell us shit

  39. fuck man couldnt have also said loot boxes are good to? that way when ever someone askes whats wrong with modern gameing i can just link this video and say nothing else

    but seriously good job playing the part of the smug game dev that doesn't understand why games are fun are and literally tries to design the fun out of the games to fit their stupid vision oh wait you wernt acting…..

  40. I play games to relax, that's why i hate timers, limits and multiplayer where i lose. Games i love are City Skylines and Railway Empire

  41. I had an Xcom mission where I got my designated hacker next to the objective with a dash, ignoring the sectoid in the room because I had 2 turns left and I thought "what's the worst he can do?"
    Alien turn ticks over and the sectoid runs out of the room and disorients my hacker while my sniper's overwatch nails a stun lancer, leaving the sectoid the last surviving enemy.
    So I think "YOU FOOL! YOU ABSOLUTE BUFFOON!" and proceed to murder him with a ranger, the only other troop I had that was close enough to get to the objective…
    You see, the thing I then found out was that you can't hack objectives while disoriented… and that was the last turn before the mission failed…
    My only response was "You cheeky son of a bitch…"

  42. Here's a real-life example of someone intending a way to play, only to have others play it differently.
    One time I went to this restaurant. The knives and forks there were so incredibly dull from use that I resorted to cutting with a spoon because it was sharper.
    Yes. I'm not kidding. The spoon was sharper than the other utensils.
    So in games, if you want people to actually play a certain way, you have to make sure it gets things done better… and try not to use score, I ignore scores.

  43. How about not treating the player as stupid and not railroading them to play in a certain way when the biggest point of computer gaming is freedom of player decision? Let me decide if I want to play defensive. You call it uninteresting, I call it methodical. You call it fast-paced, I call it twitch play.

  44. Damn it, you need to caption the whole video if you're going to claim to have captions. Otherwise you're just lying to the disabled people who need them.

  45. i have been doing some comparison between division 1 and division 2, and wondering why when players still refuse to use cover and prefer to facetank, even though developers had made it far riskier to facetank. watching your video gave me SO MUCH explanation. so thank you. 🙂

  46. You use batman and hitman as example of discouraging and encouraging tactics, but I find batman stealth game play more fun and compelling because it discouraging tactics and find hitman boring because of its encouraging ones

  47. Im kinda new to xcom, I play on normal difficulty and I find the timers very intense.
    I liked the meld-canisters (which were mostly optional, right?) from xcom1 alot more, as they didnt fail your mission straight up.

    However these timers make missions actually hard(er), as I cant just overwatch creep through the map as I would otherwise.

    Tho, in some missions I feel like its extremely hard to finish within the given turns. Then I remind myself how bad I am and that its probably my fault.

  48. and that is the biggest failure in gaming.
    without jumping into the lava nobody will learn to lure enemy there, invisible walls are killing creativity.
    time limit in XCOM was a complete failure.
    do it once maybe two times like bomb or something.
    not every level… it's annoying then.
    "protecting players from themselves" without failing miserably hundred times players won't learn to be better.
    and then "darksouls is hardest game ever".
    without allowing player to straight up rambo through stealth level but making it very hard players will never try to be silent.
    and by failing the mission because player did something creators didn't wanted them to do is purely taking fun out of the game.
    if i speedrun entire rpg to the boss and said boss hands me my ass on a silver plate then i am of course going to grind my level up wich is boring but i pay for being so fast.
    if i go step by step slowly progressing through rpg sinking into the world and stuff i'll get to that boss i know i'm going to have a hard time but i'm going to beat him because i leveled up so many times in the past.

  49. The weird part about X-Com is that actually found a fine solution to the slow play in the excellent expansion to X-Com 1. It added a resource to the maps that disappeared after a number of turns, so instead of forcing players to speed play through everything, it rewarded aggressive players with more resources instead. I don't know why Firaxis forgot this solution again…

  50. An artificial time limit in a game is bullshit, and from what I hear so is the random number algorithm the Xcom games use to calculate hits and misses.

  51. My favorite XCOM 2 mod is one that doesnt have a timer until you are detected by enemies. It allows you to set up a position carefully, and then it increases the intensity once you kick things off. You get the best of both worlds.

  52. This video is all about glorifying the idiocy of designers in presuming to know what players enjoy. And that led to the epic failures in games lately, but it was more or less the same in 2017.
    Yes, I am talking about Blizzard and Bioware mainly. However, most designers have that God complex.

  53. The problem with specifically XCOM punishing players for playing safe, is the ridiculous RNG-based combat. Especially in ironman games, you are only a certain amount of bad RNG away from total fucking failure. I did a vanilla legend playthrough earlier this year where my soldiers missed 6 attacks on one flanked stun lancer in the Avenger Defense mission, causing him to shut down the Avenger and instantly end the campaign. When you implement turn timers to punish players for playing safe, and implement RNG bullshit that can lead to instant game-overs for not playing super safe and ultra defensive, the result is a toxic gameplay experience.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, XCOM 2 should have replaced the accuracy multiplier with a damage multiplier. If they are in full cover, you are guaranteed a reduced damage grazing shot, which can be improved by aim and scopes and whatnot, reduced by defense, etc. Otherwise, at high difficulty, the game is too RNG reliant, especially seeing as how the good old camp-and-overwatch strategy just means you run out of turns making it difficult to mitigate risks – which is exactly what a strategy game is supposed to be about, mitigating risks, and exploiting opportunities.
    I enjoy XCOM 2 as a casual game. I think Commander without ironman is the only commendable way to play the base game. Higher difficulties are just such crap in an RNG-based strategy game where you risk utter failure to pure unmoderated bullshit at every turn.

  54. talking about stock non modded xcom is a good joke….i had a sniper one man army any mission on classic…..xcom eu/ew is not a balanced game…..

    oh and we went to xcom 2…lemme tell you most people didnt mind timers normally, its just that stealth is too much fun and escort missions are retarded

  55. Hey Mark, I just wanted to thank you for your great videos. You inspired me to study Game Design, and I'm really excited about it

  56. I would argue that designers should let people customize their experience so that can play the style they want. Some people enjoy meticulous min maxing, others like the high risk high reward style some enjoy both (at different times). Other players even love being able to customize everything about the game board. Giving people the option to change (whenever possible) and designing around this preference adds to the game.

  57. So lately I’ve been playing Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, and I find the way the devs rewarded movement to be awesome. Sure, you can meander around Glass searching for security boxes and consoles during your off time, but it all changes when you are actually doing something. While you can stand still and punch and kick and dodge your way through combat, things are going to get sticky fast and you will probably die. However, guard reaction times and focus shield incentivize the play style “hit em fast and hard, and if that fails, book it out of there”

  58. I believe the title of the video is not accurate, that being said, games are all about having fun. One should be free to play the game as one wishes, restricting a player in doing so, would be like a chef wanting people to eat his food the way he wants to and that's not right at all.

  59. How to force you to be stealth i have the example of Splinter cell conviction were rifle shooted like shit

    Sad they broke this by making pistol super good

  60. Amazing material – your whole channel! Quite a goldmine for design lessons that are honestly not just limited to games. Thank you!

  61. Would something like "defeat every enemy on the stage for a new stealth skill" or "complete the mission undetected for explosives" be interresting for the gameplay variety or annoying for forcing people out of their playstyle?

  62. "Encourage the behavior you want than discourage the behavior you don't."

    Such a genius notion.

    It is much easier to discourage since in its simplest form, you can outright kill the player for "doing it wrong". But how to entice players to act in a certain way is super tricky.

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